Barnet UNISON begins work to seek backdating Pay and Pension for members working in Barnet Council schools.

Earlier this year Barnet UNISON submitted 52 collective grievances on behalf of our members working in 52 Barnet Schools.

What is this about?

It is about the calculation used to ensure that part-time workers are not being discriminated in relation to their pay.

UNISON believes that this contract term is unfair and inherently discriminatory. We believe that this contract term results term time only workers receiving less than their pro-rata leave entitlement compared to their full time equivalent (FTE) colleagues.

UNISON believes that this contract treats part time workers less favourably than full time staff and is therefore discriminatory. We also believe that the approach is potentially discriminatory on sex grounds as the workers affected are overwhelmingly female.

UNISON is seeking a recalculation of the pay and leave of these staff and a payment of back pay of any historical underpayment from their date of appointment.

We would also seek a recalculation of any pension entitlement under the LGPS resulting from any underpayment or understatement of pensionable service.

What are we doing now?

We are now busy arranging meetings in these schools to explain the reason for the claim for backdated pay and a payment for underpayment of their Pension. Only one of the Schools is a Barnet Schools the rest are Academies/Foundation Schools.

We are beginning to lodge our legal claim against the Schools in order to protect our members claims.

What about Barnet Council Schools?

As news spreads about our campaign, our members working in Barnet Council Schools are asking about their claims.

Our members were never informed by Barnet Council that they were being paid incorrectly and that they had a claim for back pay and a payment towards the underpayment of their Pension. Our members are angry to hear they have not been paid correctly and are demanding that Barnet Council pay up.

Today, Barnet UNISON has written to Barnet Council seeking a meeting to discuss our claim on behalf of our members. We are calling on Barnet Council to do the right thing and reach a collective agreement which will address the backdating and the underpayment of the Pension.

This is a massive issue for our members and we are continuing to keep all of our members briefed as to their rights at work.

If you are on a Term Time Pay contract and worried if you are being correctly paid please contact the branch on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

More to follow…….

End.

 

Term Time Pay Drop-in meetings

Barnet UNISON is hosting drop-in sessions for our members working in schools which have Term Time Pay issues.

Drop-in sessions will take place on

  1. Monday 17th February 11- 3pm
  2. Tuesday 18th 11 -3pm
  3. Thursday 20th February from 11- 3

Drop-in sessions are held at the Barnet UNISON office, Barnet House, 1255 High Road, Whetstone, London N20 0EJ

Members please note you will need the following information.

Your monthly take home pay figures, payroll number which is on your pay slip, your membership number.

End.

Local Barnet Rabbi to speak at Barnet UNISON AGM

“We are in the process of enormous catastrophic breakdown and if takes an arrest to try to find ways of helping to galvanise public opinion then it certainly worth being arrested.” (Rabbi Jeffrey Newman 14th October 2019.)

Rabbi Jeffrey Newman is guest speaker at Barnet UNISON AGM on Tuesday 25 February 2020 at 4pm Barnet House. All member welcome.

https://youtu.be/Ski8LcjvwVo

Barnet Libraries Review : Barnet UNISON

British Library, Kings Cross.
March to protest about cuts to libraries, museums and the arts.
Barnet Unison were on the march along with striking Barnet library staff.
05/11/16 BP
AMS

Barnet Council have commissioned “an independent evaluation of recent changes to the library service and to make some recommendations for the future.” (https://www.barnet.gov.uk/libraries-0)

The Company undertaking the review have asked Barnet UNISON and a sample of Library staff for their views.  We welcome this engagement with Library workers.

We hope that the review will be fair and evidence based, and that the Council have made the necessary information and evidence available to the reviewing organisation.  This must include comparable statistics on the use of libraries in staffed and unstaffed hours and include the four Libraries outsourced in 2017.

The findings of the review should be published in March and Barnet UNISON will make a full response at that time.

End.

Save our Catering workers

We the undersigned, wish to add our support for Barnet UNISON’s request to the Barnet Council Chief Executive to bring the ISS Catering workers based in the Atrium in North London Business Park (NLBP) back in-house in order they can run a Council owned staff café in the new £55 million Colindale Office.

 

Sign petition here http://chng.it/gNCjP62Q

 

***** Please note there is currently no staff cafe facility in the new Colindale office building.

 

Background:

On 1 April 2016 Barnet Council outsourced their Catering Service to Cambridge Education who are a subsidiary of global giant Mott MacDonald.

Barnet UNISON reached an agreement with Barnet Council that ensured the contract included a provision that no staff could be employed on less than the London Living Wage (LLW).

Cambridge Education sub-contracted the Catering service to another global giant ISS who employed all the Catering workers.

However, Barnet UNISON and the Atrium Catering workers were unaware that the contract between ISS and Cambridge Education did not include the provision of a staff café in the soon to be built £55 million Council Office in Colindale.

In December 2019 Barnet Council informed Barnet UNISON that they had failed to secure an alternative provider to deliver a staff café in Colindale office.

On Monday 27 January 2020 ISS began redundancy one to one meetings for their staff working in the staff canteen in NLBP.

On 1 April 2020 the LLW changes from £10.55 (for a 36 hour week the annual salary would be £19,979) to £10.75 an hour.

*** In the likely event that our proposal is not implemented and the redundancies are carried out, Barnet UNISON is calling on all council staff to try and visit the staff canteen in NLBP on Friday 27 March 2020 between 12 and 1.30 pm for a Solidarity and Thank you meal with our ISS catering workers.

 

17 Level 3 TAs face the sack in one Barnet School

I was not looking forward to this consultation meeting. The look of devastation on the faces of mainly low paid female workers was for all to see.

Each worker spoke with passion about the work they do and what they felt was betrayal for all the hard work they have put into the school for years.

I was able to sit and listen to them tell me about what they do. It was clear they cared deeply about the children they support. They expressed disbelief that the restructure proposals will even work.

I left the meeting not deflated but recharged with energy to try to do as much as I can for them.

This is my second redundancy meeting in a week and it’s hitting low paid workers again.

If this week is an indicator of life for workers under Boris Johnson then we should all be worried

More later….

 

It’s Your Wages. This is what we are doing.

On Wednesday 15th January 2020 UNISON lodged collective grievances against 52 Barnet Schools to ensure we protect claims on behalf of all of over 500 UNISON members working in those schools.

Three things that need to be done for YOU.

  1. The way your employer calculates YOUR Pay needs to be changed in order that you are paid correctly.
  2. You have been underpaid for years. These are your wages that you have worked for and it is your right that your employer should pay you correctly.
  3. If you are in the Pension Scheme your Pension is wrong and you need to be compensated.

IMPORTANT ADVICE:

Barnet UNISON has an organiser called Nadia who will be contacting you to set up a meeting to explain what happens next.

If you want to speak to Nadia please contact the branch on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

Term Time Pay Update Meeting

On Tuesday 25 February 2020 5.15 pm, Barnet House, 1255 High Road, Whetstone N20 0EJ after the Barnet UNISON Annual General Meeting there will be an update for all of our members on the claim.

Please come along.

BREAKING NEWS: UNISON begins the process of registering legal claims for its term-time members against a Barnet School.

UNISON has made the first step of lodging legal claims on behalf of its members working for Barnet School by registering the claim with ACAS. This is the first step that must be taken before a claim is formally lodged with the Employment Tribunal.

The decision to lodge the claims came after months of local talks had failed to deliver a settlement which UNISON could recommend to our members.

UNISON remains open to a local resolution.

The School has for many years knowingly used a Term Time Pay formula (originally used by Barnet Council until 2017) that has undervalued and underpaid annual leave entitlement and pay for its term-time only staff.

Local UNISON reps in the School have carried out an inspirational role in recruiting and organising the members in the school to challenge this injustice.

Furthermore UNISON discovered that there has been widespread underpayment of term-time staff in at least 51 Barnet Schools. We are determined to ensure that every one of our members in those schools are paid correctly going forward and is awarded compensation for the years of underpayment.

For those members in the Local Government Pension Scheme UNISON is also seeking a recalculation of any pension entitlement under the LGPS resulting from any underpayment or understatement of pensionable service.

On Wednesday 15th January 2020 UNISON lodged collective grievances against 51 Barnet Schools to ensure we protect claims on behalf of all of our members working in those schools.

Barnet UNISON will be organising meetings in all of the schools to explain what is happening and what members need to do next.

 

End.

 

 

 

Poverty Pay For Barnet Care Workers set to continue…………

Monday 6th January 2020 should have brought good news for ex Fremantle care workers now employed by The Barnet Group (TBG).

Barnet UNISON had expected to hear that care workers would be moved onto the London Living Wage at Policy and Resources Committee on Monday 6th January 2020

https://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=692&MId=10084

Instead the decision was kicked into the long grass.

This decision has ensured care workers remain on poverty pay.

TUPE information from Fremantle in May/ June 2019 revealed that just under 300 staff were TUPE transferred.

Of these, according to the figures given for the job titles and the rates of pay quoted for those job titles, some two thirds were listed as being paid below the London Living Wage.

Care work is a physically demanding role as well as an emotionally demanding role.

There are at least 201 Care workers on poverty pay

Yet according to the TUPE transfer information

161 members of staff are aged 55 years and over.

40 are aged 66 years and over.

Notes for Editors:

TBG is 100% owned by Barnet Council.

Barnet Council does not employ any staff paid less than the London Living Wage.

Barnet UNISON report Policy and Resources Committee 6th January 2020.

Barnet UNISON report

Policy and Resources Committee

 6th January 2020.

 

SUMMARY

With respect to the decision made at the last P&R Committee, Council officers have, at best, not complied with the request and at worst have misled the Committee.

RECOMMENDATION

The Officers are required to investigate the actual costs associated with implementing the London Living Wage for the ex-Fremantle workers.

BACKGROUND

Over the past decade one thing Barnet UNISON is in agreement with Barnet Council is that the London Living Wage is the lowest rate of pay for its staff and those working on outsourced contracts.

Within the Barnet Group the minimum rate of pay for staff in Barnet Homes, TBG Flex (The Barnet Group Flex) and Your Choice Barnet is the London Living Wage – including posts which become vacant within the ex-Fremantle homes.

After a settling in period for the TUPE Fremantle staff Barnet UNISON raised in discussions with the employer the issue of paying these staff the London Living Wage as the lowest level of pay. We believe these staff should be treated no differently to other staff working for Barnet Council or on its outsourced contracts.

Barnet UNISON notes the decision regarding a discussion about implementing the London Living Wage for Fremantle TUPE transferred staff to Your Choice Barnet at the Policy and Resources Committee 3rd October 2019 is recorded in the draft minutes as:

“Following discussion on the London Living Wage for Fremantle staff who had been TUPE transferred to Your Choice Barnet the Chairman agreed to an item on the feasibility being brought back to the next Committee. This would be included in the Business Planning report”

In response to this request from Councillors the Business Planning Report dedicates a mere 2 paragraphs which is listed under “Risks to the MTFS”

  • Fremantle Care workers (London Living Wage): Former Fremantle staff were TUPE transferred to YCB in July 2018 under the agreement that terms and conditions would be protected for 1 year.  Some former Fremantle care workers that have been transferred to the Barnet Group may be being paid less than the London Living Wage (£10.75 per hour (as at Nov 2019)). The Barnet Group policy is to pay all its workers at least the London Living Wage, subject to affordability, and a HR process is now required to review any changes to terms and conditions which will need to be considered.

 

Any decision about changes to terms and conditions will need to be considered in the context of the overall pay and reward strategy for the Barnet Group, employment policies and legislation, the wider social care market and the council’s procurement rules.   It is not yet possible to quantify the level of risk associated as it is too early to form a conclusion about the application of the LLW to TUPE staff. However, officers in the Barnet Group supported by council colleagues where necessary will be working on this over the coming months and can provide further update to the committee in the future.

These two paragraphs responding to the Committee’s request in no way reflects the response Barnet UNISON or the care workers were expecting. We had expected a detailed report detailing the cost implications for implementing the London Living Wage. Instead this response kicks the question into the long grass.

This is absurd as all new vacancies in the ex-Fremantle homes are advertised as paying the London Living Wage as a minimum. These posts are open to existing Fremantle staff to apply for those posts. This means that incrementally at least some of these staff working in these homes will be all be employed on the London Living Wage. This fact is not even listed in the 2 paragraphs written by the officers. This means this risk is already a reality and yet it is not mentioned or evaluated. No turnover rates are mentioned. Is it ironic that a credible option for the ex-Fremantle staff to en masse resign from their posts and then to reapply for posts in the new homes which would have to be offered at the London Living Wage?

The report in no way reflects the request made of the Committee to the officers. A “feasibility” was requested not the “risks”. Furthermore the Councillors are asked to believe that the officers are incapable of quantifying the “level of risk” associated with “the application of the LLW to TUPE staff.”

Barnet UNISON can be of assistance to the officers and councillors in understanding some of the implications by revealing the inaccuracy of the sentence: “Some former Fremantle care workers […] may be being paid less than the London Living Wage”. (Our italics)

TUPE information from Fremantle in May/ June 2019 revealed that just under 300 staff were TUPE transferred. Of these, according to the figures given for the job titles and the rates of pay quoted for those job titles, some two thirds were listed as being paid below the London Living Wage. In total these were 222 staff. The largest group are the care workers which total some 143 workers and are nearly half of the ex-Fremantle workforce.

Care work is a physically demanding role as well as an emotionally demanding role. Yet according to the TUPE transfer information 161 members of staff are aged 55 years and over and of these 40 are aged 66 years and over. By contrast the numbers of staff aged under 40 years are 76.

 

RISK

There is a risk in not paying the London Living Wage as this report demonstrates:

https://www.skillsforcare.org.uk/adult-social-care-workforce-data/Workforce-intelligence/documents/State-of-the-adult-social-care-sector/State-of-Report-2019.pdf

In the Care industry there is a national turnover rate of 38% for those working less than one year in the field (p.13). It shows that those who are paid more are less likely to leave their roles.

“Turnover at regulated services that were rated overall as either ‘outstanding’ or ‘good’, turnover was found to be lower (29.5%) than those rated as ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’ (32.2%). This trend remained consistent across each Key Line of Enquiry (KLOE) with an average difference of 2.7%. The largest difference in turnover was shown for the ‘Safe’ KLOE which had 3.4% lower turnover at providers rated positively.” (p.118)

Continuity is an important factor in delivering quality care and support to our most vulnerable residents. There are associated costs in constantly recruiting and inducting new members of staff. These can result in reputational and safeguarding costs.

Barnet UNISON strives to work with both the Council and quasi outsourced employers, such as the Barnet Group, in continuing to promote harmonious industrial relations and to provide a high level of service for our customers. This may, potentially, be put in jeopardy if the decision is not to value monetarily the important role that care workers perform.

These factors should be of importance to this Committee and to Councillors in general and should be taken more seriously than the response to the request from Council officer’s shows.

 

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